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Non-biological father seeks custody of boy after mother’s death

In the legal world, few cases may be more emotional and important than family law matters, particularly when it comes to an Alabama parent’s relationship with his or her child. This is true not only for biological parents, but for others who raise children as their own. Of course, the child custody determination may be less clear cut in cases involving the latter.

For example, a business executive is currently seeking legal custody of a boy he raised as his own, after the boy’s mother committed suicide. The mother was the girlfriend of the man, and the father of the child was a sperm donor, who was used after the couple could not conceive naturally.

After the mother’s suicide, the boy was taken from the man’s custody because he is not the child’s biological father. However, the man, who never married the mother, is now seeking custody through the court, and is getting closer to that determination. He must follow certain steps first, however, including home visits.

As a general matter, the biological father of a child is not the only person who can be legally recognized as the father, although it is more complicated for other men to obtain custody. For example, a man may be the presumed father if he welcomed the child into his home and holds the child out as his own. Similarly, a person may be considered an equitable father if he has a close relationship with the child, although he is not the biological father.

State laws vary when it comes to custody decisions for non-biological fathers. Moreover, such custody determinations may impact whether a man is liable for child support payments for the child. Ultimately, men should seek qualified legal representation when it comes to the all-important area of child custody.

Source: NY Post, “Exec in child-custody fight after girlfriend’s suicide — because anonymous sperm donor is the ‘biological father’,” Julia Marsh, Jan. 18, 2013